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Contributor:
James.Maude
June 28th, 2017

NotPetya ransomware: Attack analysis

On June 27, 2017 a number of organisations across Europe began reporting significant system outages caused by a ransomware strain referred to as Petya. The ransomware is very similar to older Petya ransomware attacks from previous years, but the infection and propagation method is new, leading to it being referred to as NotPetya. Due to the sudden and significant impact of the attack, it was immediately likened to the WannaCry outbreak causing concerns globally. 

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Windows 7 sees Increase in Malware Infection Rate

Windows XP is deemed ‘good enough’ by many, but the fact is that it’s four to five times more vulnerable to malware infection than Windows 7. While this is mainly due to improved security defenses, including least privilege security implemented with the help of User Account Control (UAC), that’s not to say we should be complacent when using Windows 7.

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Privilege Guard 2.7 and Enhanced UAC Integration

Privilege Guard (Edit: now Defendpoint) first introduced UAC (User Account Control) integration in version 2.5, which enables rules to be defined that trigger when an application requires administrator privileges in order to run. Further enhancements to the UAC rule in version 2.7 now allow you to elevate applications that may trigger UAC after the application has already launched. For instance, disk defragmenter and task manager are two applications that launch with standard user rights and only trigger UAC when the user attempts to perform an operation that requires administrator privileges.

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Curated Computing Promises a More Secure Future on the Desktop

While Windows owes much of its success to its flexibility and ease of use, a new computing model, chiefly heralded by Apple in the consumer space, is changing the proposition value for end users.

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Installing Device Drivers as a Standard User on Windows 7

One of the most common reasons cited for granting administrative privileges to notebook users on Windows is the need to install drivers for new hardware when IT support isn’t available. Happily, Windows 7 has improved driver handling and it’s likely that when a new device is connected, it will either be supported out-of-the-box, i.e. a driver for the device is included with Windows 7, or a driver will be automatically downloaded from Windows Update and pre-staged into the driver store (c:windowssystem32driverstore) so it can be installed by a standard user.

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Architectural Insight into Microsoft UAC and Avecto Privilege Guard

A recent press release from a competitor made some ill-educated statements about Microsoft User Account Control (UAC) and other user mode solutions that control application privileges. The article picked up on a weakness in UAC that has been publicly known since the beta of Windows 7, and then went on to suggest that user mode solutions are not capable of managing application privileges securely and that elevated processes can only be protected at the kernel level.

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